Volunteers deliver more than 800 Valentine’s Day meals

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — People often volunteer during the holidays or after a disaster, but the under-served members of our community need help all year long.

Saturday, one group set out to address that need, distributing more than 800 meals to needy people in the Cape Fear.

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Using the housing authority to identify families in need, the Cape Fear Volunteer Center and Diamond Foods joined forces to help the community. According to Steve Lambros, owner of Diamond Foods, it’s something both organizations have done before.

“We fed about 15,000 people daily for Hurricane Florence,” said Lambros. “We did some work through Dorian. And we’ve been providing meals all the way through COVID for a couple of the shelters that have been in need since last February.”

Cars pulled up to Diamond Foods starting at 10 am.

Organizers formed an assembly line of cars and workers. Volunteers gathered meals, loaded them into vehicles, and drove around Wilmington, Leland, and Castle Hayne, bringing the food to low income and elderly people.

On top of the meals, the Big Buddy Program gave goody bags and heart-shaped balloons out to kids in need, hoping to brighten their Valentine’s Day.

Their goal was to ultimately feed their community physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

“Jesus said that we shall love one another,” Lambros explained, “so we’re just out here showing a little love for the community and for the families in need.”

Chris Lancaster works with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center. In her experience, outreach is not as common this time of year compared to the holidays. Around Valentine’s Day, she’s seen elderly men and women slip into loneliness, many feeling abandoned and unloved.

That’s why their work was so important this weekend, Lancaster explained.

​”And Valentine’s Day is kind of a lesser holiday. So I was really glad that Steve came up with the idea to do this today.”

Giving those in need a meal, a friend, and a Valentine to remind them they are loved today… and every day.